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Astronomy Course Offerings

AST 20:  Introductory Astronomy
This course is a descriptive survey of the heavens, including the constellations and stars, the sun and our planetary system, the celestial sphere, our galaxy, binary and variable stars, nebulae, the elements of astrophysics, cosmogony, the history of astronomy. Weekly laboratory exercises are an integral part of the course. This course does not satisfy major, concomitant, or specialization requirements for Secondary Education Science and/or Liberal Arts Science Majors.
Prerequisites: None.

Photos of galaxies, planets, and nebulas

AST 30:  Mission to the Planets
More than 50 spacecraft missions have left the Earth's surface in search of answers about the formation of our solar system, our neighboring planets, our moon, and our own planet. These missions illustrate the application of the scientific method in vivid detail as scientists struggled to refine their questions (hypothesis) and obtain the data to test them; then learned to refine the hypothesis and then repeated the process. This course covers the physical, chemical, and geological nature of the planets and their atmospheres; similarities and differences between the Earth and other planets using manned and unmanned space probes and how they have shaped our understanding of the planets. Laboratory experiments illustrate the scientific method and complex decision making required in developing space missions.
Prerequisites: None.

Image of New Horizons Spacecraft

AST 140:  Planetary Science
This course provides an introduction to the observational and quantitative techniques used to understand the characteristics, origin, and evolution of our Solar System. Topics include the formation and evolution of planets, asteroids, comets, moons, and rings. In laboratory exercises, students will use data from NASA and other missions to explore the dynamic evolution of our Solar System.
Prerequisites: MAT 105 or MAT 115
Co-requisites: PHY 40 or PHY 100

Image of the Solar System in the process of forming

AST 142:  Stellar & Galactic Astronomy
This course is a survey of stars and stellar systems including the sun as a star, stellar properties and distances, binary stars, variable stars, star clusters, stellar evolution, galaxies and the universe. Some concepts of astrophysics, radio astronomy and cosmology are introduced. There will be several planetarium and telescopic observation sessions. Actual data acquired at national and local observatories, including the Kutztown University Observatory, will be incorporated into laboratory exercises. 
Prerequisites: PHY 40 or PHY 100 or permission of the instructor

Photo of spiral galaxy

AST 205:  Planetary Surface Processes
This course examines the physics of processes that break solid rock into transportable materials and the physical and chemical mechanisms behind the movement and deposition of that material on planetary surfaces. Using quantitative analysis, laboratory, remote sensing, field experiments, and qualitative assessment, this course links the physical and chemical weathering of planetary surfaces, including the fundamentals of fluid flow, sediment transport, erosion, and deposition to processes ranging from microscopic to mountain building. A laboratory course, planetary surface processes focuses on collecting and using actual data sets and applying them to the sedimentary, tectonic, and atmospheric history of a planet.
Prerequisites: GEL 102 or PHY 100 or permission of the instructor

Photo of Astronomy Student on a field trip for Astronomy 205 class

AST 240:  The Planetarium
This course introduces students to the planetarium, its operation, and its maintenance. The student will learn the operation of the digital planetarium projection system and the computer scripting program used to create planetarium presentations. Also covered in this course are methods of digital image, video, and audio manipulation.
Prerequisites: AST 142 or permission of the instructor

Photo of the inside of the planetarium

AST 342:  Astrophysics
This course explores the physics of astronomical phenomena, from processes within our Solar System to the creation and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the Universe. The course is designed for physics majors and other science majors with strong interest in astronomy, physics, and mathematics. This course takes a mathematically rigorous approach of applying basic principles of physics to astronomy, and therefore also provides a foundation for more advanced (undergraduate and graduate level) coursework in astrophysics.
Prerequisites: PHY 212 and MAT 273

Lecture Slide calculating Sun's magnetic field

AST 350:  Practical Astronomy
This course is concerned with a study of the techniques required in making and reducing astronomical observations. The positional aspects of astronomy will be covered in detail.  This course will also focus attention on methods modern data collection, reduction, and analysis using CCD detector systems, and on the various types of telescopes.  The students will be required to carry out observing projects using the Kutztown University's on-campus telescope and the remote robotic telescopes located in New Mexico and South Australia.
Prerequisites: PHY 102, AST 142, and MAT 182

Photo of students inside observatory next to telescope

AST 370:  Research in Astronomy
This course will involve an individual research program on a specialized topic in astronomy and will require either library research, observational work using Kutztown University's on-campus telescopes and/or remote robotic telescopes, computer simulations, the planetarium, or a combination of these. The results of such work might be published. This course may be repeated for credit.
Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

image showing astronomical objects (planets and stars) and astronomical data

AST 395:  Honors Independent Study / Thesis
Honors Independent Study/Thesis.